Meet Our Summer Staff: Hayley

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Welcome, Hayley Bell to our 2018 summer staff team! Hayley is from Whakamarama, New Zealand and will be serving as a Counselor/Activity Specialist. Her experience working with children and youth is varied. She has assisted in primary school classrooms, babysat children of all ages, worked as a professional birthday party planner, and served as deputy house captain at school. In this last role, she organized and implemented activities for 50-100 students aged 12-18.

One of Hayley’s references wrote, “She has a genuine care for those around her and her warm disposition puts young people at ease. Hayley has a fun sense of humor and is full of enthusiasm.”

Hayley’s interests are as varied as her experience. She thoroughly enjoys acting and drama – one of her favorite subjects in school. Design, drawing, crafts and gardening are also at the top of her list. She is a self-proclaimed water baby and loves spending time “at waterholes or at the beach.” She also enjoys just spending time with her family and friends, and her favorite foods are Maltesers and Satay Noodles.

When asked why she wanted to spend the summer at a camp in the States, she explained that, after her first year at “Uni,” she realized that she should have taken a Gap year – as is the custom for many students in the UK (United Kingdom) and beyond. She wanted to find ways to give back and serve others for a year, before returning to school. She is also excited about traveling. When asked about one thing she would really like to see or experience in the USA, Hayley wrote, “The culture and landscape differences! Oh! and a large-sized meal where they give you the GIGANTIC cups for your drink!” Hopefully, when she returns home, Hayley will have so many amazing memories and new experiences that super-sized anything will be at the bottom of her list! Welcome, Hayley!

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Meet Our Summer Staff – Laura

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Welcome Laura Renken to our 2018 summer staff team! This will be Laura’s second summer on staff; she will again be serving as a Counselor/Activity Specialist and utilizing her skills as a seasoned lifeguard.

Laura hails from Hamel, Illinois and is an active member of Salem UCC in Alhambra. She is a student at Eastern Illinois University where she is studying elementary education. At school, she is active in a Bible study group that has helped her to grow in her ability to share and discuss her faith with others. They have also, “helped me a lot with being proud of my faith and not feeling like I needed to hide my faith in order to fit in. I can be proud of who I am and who God has made me to be.”

When asked about future plans, five years from now, Laura hopes to be teaching second or third grade. Not a surprise! Working with children has long been a priority for her. Before serving on our summer staff, Laura was a regular VBS volunteer. She also completed our Counselors in Training (CIT) Program and served as a camp volunteer.

Laura is returning this summer because, “Working with the campers was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.” Her favorite place at camp is Meditation Point. She loves seeing all the stars and the lake at night in a “very humbling place” where she feels “immersed in God’s presence.” In addition to starry nights, Laura loves swimming in the summer and biking whenever it’s warm outside. She likes to doodle, knit, crochet, sing and practice her ukulele and guitar. Her favorite foods are oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, watermelon and grapes – all staples at summer camp.

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Summer Job Opportunities!

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Looking for a summer job that’s fulfilling as well as resume-building? Love being outdoors and working with kids? DuBois Center is hiring energetic, caring, fun and safety-focused individuals for our summer staff.

Out of our pool of Counselor/Activity Specialists, we try and hire at least seven to eight who are also lifeguards. Our waterfront program is based on the idea that the best fun is also safe, and our staff works hard to ensure that environment. Lifeguarding classes include the required First Aid and CPR training, and lifeguards are paid a little extra over the course of the summer to recoup the cost of the course.

For more information, check out our website page or email shirley.director@DuBoisCenter.org.

Meet Our Summer Staff: Troy

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Summer staff recruitment is in full swing, and we will be introducing members of our 2018 team through Weekly Connection and Facebook. First up is Troy Mcrae.

This will be Troy’s second summer on staff. He will again make the long trek from Western Australia to DuBois, Illinois. Troy grew up in the “Aussie countryside” in the small town of Manjimup. Active in his church youth ministry and camping programs, he grew from youth participant to young adult volunteer leader. Troy loves being outside and spent a year as a trainee and instructor at an outdoor school. Canoeing, lifeguarding, “bush walking expeditions,” food prep and equipment maintenance were all part of his experience there.

Thinking back to 2016 when Troy last served with us, his big smile, gentle nature and amazing height come to mind. Yes, he occasionally had to duck when going through doorways. When asked about his desire to return to DuBois Center, Troy commented, “I just felt drawn back to the overwhelmingly positive atmosphere at camp. It’s impossible to finish each day without a smile on your face.”

Troy brings skills as an effective canoeing instructor, accomplished guitar player and caring camp counselor. His long-term goal is to become a professional outdoor educator. Aussie meat pies are Troy’s favorite food. Two of his favorite hobbies are cycling and larping (think Lord of the Rings meets football, with a bit of theater improv thrown into the mix). He describes himself as a massive “pop culture nerd (in the best of ways).” Welcome back, Troy!

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Summer Staff – Kalaba

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Welcome Kalaba Kapunda to the 2017 summer staff team! Originally from Kitwe, Zambia, Kalaba lived in South Africa for the last nine years and is now a student at Eden Theological Seminary. After a successful career in community development in the private and non-profit sectors, he felt a call to ordained ministry. That call led him to study for his Masters of Divinity at Eden.
Back home, Kalaba was actively involved in his home church – Jerusalem United Methodist Church. Through his church and other organizations, he has facilitated youth groups, served as a soccer coach and worked as the youth choir director at an orphanage. Kalaba also did a short stint as a high school teacher – one of the options for mandatory government service. He is the father of his three young sons (seven, four and two years old). His family will be joining him at Eden in the fall.
In his free time, Kalaba enjoys sports, particularly soccer and volleyball. He also enjoys walking, being outside, participating in community work, singing and reading. Kalaba likes all kinds of food, but especially Pap – a favorite from South Africa, fish, rice, goat meat and vegetables. Kalaba is excited to exchange ideas and explore diversity with the campers and staff while at DuBois Center this summer. He believes “diversity can help us respect and celebrate our lives.” He is looking forward to building a team, meeting new friends, and playing together “in an attempt to create understanding, trust, and respect.”

Summer Staff – Laura

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Welcome Laura Renken to the 2017 summer staff team! Laura hails from Hamel, Illinois and is a member of Salem UCC in Alhambra, where she sings in the praise team choir. She has also served as a Vacation Bible School volunteer for at least the last 5 years. Laura attended summer camp at DuBois Center for a number of years. She completed our Counselors in Training (CIT) Program in 2014 and last summer volunteered as a cabin counselor.

When not at camp, Laura is student at Eastern Illinois University where she is studying elementary education. She also works at the front desk of her dorm. Her favorites include: smell – spearmint, color – sky blue, food – tacos, and she loves to sing.

Her favorite childhood memories include summers swimming at her grandparents’ and coming to camp. “I loved coming to Camp DuBois growing up, and it was always a dream of mine to work here when I got older. I always felt that this was a place of love and acceptance where I could really be myself. I wanted to have the opportunity to make Camp DuBois that place for other people as well. I am excited to make memories with everyone and to be a part of such a loving community. I am excited to get to know my campers and to play games and sing songs. I am excited that God has granted me the opportunity to work in a place that means so much to me.”

Summer Staff – Olivia

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Welcome Olivia Cruthis to DuBois Center’s 2017 summer staff team! Olivia is an avid swimmer, lifeguard and horse lover – all helpful traits when serving as a Counselor /Activity Specialist. She is from Lebanon, Illinois and is a DuBois Center veteran, attending summer camp for nine years, including our CIT – Counselor in Training program in 2014. Last summer, Olivia returned to volunteer as a camp counselor.

A student at Illinois College, she is majoring in secondary English education, with a music and theatre minor. She is also on the swimming and diving teams there. Olivia loves gymnastics, reading, artistic endeavors and Mexican food. It’s not unusual to find her singing (perhaps even screaming) and dancing to Disney tunes in her dorm room.

An active member of St. John UCC in Mascoutah, Olivia credits Rachael Berth, Minister of Youth and Christian Education, with nurturing her on her faith journey. “[She] has inspired me since she walked into my life when I was a freshman in high school; we were in the church choir together. She has helped me strengthen my relationship with God as well as help me find who I truly am.”

Olivia can’t wait to spend the summer “praising God with all the kids and staff.” She applied for the position because she loved camp so much as a kid, and as she got older, she saw the impact that the DuBois staff had on the campers and she wanted “to be a part of this amazing group of people.”

Summer Camp Staff – Catie

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Welcome Catie Goetter to our 2017 summer staff team! Catie will be serving as a Barn Assistant / Counselor. She grew up in Maryville, IL as an active member of St. John Evangelical UCC and is no stranger to DuBois Center. She attended summer camp for years. During the school year, weekend horse retreat and volunteering at the barn kept her busy. In 2015, she successfully completed our CIT (Counselor in Training) program, and in 2016 she volunteered for four weeks of summer camp.

When asked about a goofy camp memory Catie wrote, “My parents sent me to camp when I was 7 for a half week session thinking they would pick me up never wanting to go back. When they got to camp to pick me up, I was hiding in the bathroom of Lakeside because I didn’t want to leave.”

Catie attends Missouri State University where she is majoring in special education. She is actively involved in student ministry and marching band. Marching season is her favorite season! She also volunteers with a therapeutic riding program. Catie is very excited to be a member of our 2017 Summer Staff, she says she “can’t imagine [her] life without spending the summer at DuBois.” Catie’s favorite thing about summer camp is “getting to see the campers grow from the beginning of the week to the end whether it was just coming out of their shell or trying something new or something they were scared of, like canoeing or horseback riding!” She is also very excited to be on staff with old camp friends, to make new camp friends and work alongside her older brother, Ryan.

Summer Camp Staff – Grace

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Welcome Grace (Gracie) Allen to DuBois Center’s 2017 summer staff team! She will be serving as Counselor/Activity Specialist. Gracie lives in Maeystown, IL where she is an active member of St. John UCC and a PK (Pastor’s Kid). Gracie is new to our staff, but not to DuBois Center. She has attended Winter Weekends with her church and served as a summer camp volunteer. She has also participated in our Buddy to Buddy Mission Experience a number of times, working with young people from the residential program in Hoyleton.

Gracie loves to sing and perform in community theater productions. These talents, as well as her unique ability to sound like Chewbacca, will be put to good use at camp. Gracie is currently working part-time and studying for her associate degree in education at SWIC (Southwestern Illinois College). Her references all agree; she is kind, very responsible and has a great attitude. Gracie is very excited to be serving at DuBois Center this summer. When asked why she said, “When I had volunteered I had loved every aspect of camp… I am most excited about helping kids have a great time…”

Meet Our Summer Staff – Ryan

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Welcome, Ryan Goetter, to our 2017 team! This will be his third season on summer staff. Ryan grew up near Collinsville IL, an avid member of his high school band and active member of St. John Evangelical UCC. He attended summer camp at DuBois Center for many years, including our C.I.T. (Counselors in Training) program in 2013. While in high school, Ryan volunteered as a teacher for 4-H groups. That experience has proven to be valuable as DuBois Center began partnering with 4-H of Southern Illinois for their summer camp program. This summer, Ryan will be coordinating our staff team for that endeavor. In addition to serving as a Counselor/Activity Specialist for DuBois Center, Ryan also counsels for Camp Phoenix, the summer camp for the Episcopal Dioceses of Missouri.

Ryan is a student at Missouri State University where he studies Instrumental Music Education. This has given him even more experience working with youth through practicum credit hours. On campus, Ryan works in the business office of the medical clinic and is actively involved in Lambda Chi Alpha. He is the Director for Drug and Alcohol Awareness for the MSU chapter of FSLSA (Fraternity and Sorority Leaders of Social Awareness).

Ryan is passionate about summer camp – from the magical “escape from the real world” to the wacky songs and the spirit-filled worship circles. The wonderful, often off-beat, interactions with campers and the enduring friendships with fellow staff members – he loves it all!